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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70702
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My partner and I have been claiming Housing Benefit and Council

Resolved Question:

My partner and I have been claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit as a couple since he moved in with me a couple of years ago. He is self employed although business is only just staying afloat and he does not make enough for him to draw a wage. We also receive working tax credit (HMRC have agreed his income as zero) and child tax credit for my 16 year old daughter who attends college. I receive DLA (higher rate care and mobility) and ESA (contribution rate). When my partner moved in to be my carer he had been trying to sell his property for 3.5 years with no luck. He was then approached by someone who did wish to buy but could not get a mortgage due to CCJs. A short hold tenancy with a 5 year option agreement was entered into. Money paid as rent to be taken as deposit should the eventual sale go ahead. This was all declared as part of our initial claim. The council has just reassessed our claim and declined it due to equity in the property. We have explained that we are unable to access that equity due to the option agreement which runs to October next year (2015). Their response to this is that the property is not actively for sale so cannot be disregarded. My understanding of the legislation is that we need to show 'reasonable steps to dispose of those premises'. Surely the action my partner took would encompass reasonable steps?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
No, it would not Im afraid.
There is no way of sweetening this. You cannot claim a means tested benefit if you have a property with equity.
Come what may, he owns a property and will be expected to sell if you want to claim housing benefit.
I'm very sorry but its as simple as that really and I have to give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Whilst I can understand that point - the council has told us that if an elderly relative were living in the property or it was being actively marketed it would qualify under the 'disregard' guidelines. My argument is simply that we have taken reasonable steps to dispose of it.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I am afraid I cannot agree with that for the reasons above.
If you claim a means tested benefit then you cannot own a property with equity in it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Even though the Housing Benefit guidelines state you can in Schedule 6 para 26?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes.
If you claim a means tested benefit then you cannot own a property with equity in it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok - thank you for your time

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No problem.
All the best.